Tag Archives: Health and Wellness

Caffeine Consumption and Sleep Disorders

Caffeine ConsumptionCaffeine is a central nervous system and metabolic stimulant.  Derived from Xanthine, it is a methylated alkaloid and has been consumed since the Stone age, where people found that chewing the seeds, bark, or leaves of certain plants eased fatigue, stimulated awareness, and elevated the mood before they even knew what caffeine was. It wasn’t until much later that it was discovered to extract the caffeine from these items by dipping them in hot water.  Caffeine, however, was actually discovered in 1819 by the German chemist Friedrich Ferdinand Runge who isolated relatively pure caffeine for the first time.

Caffeine is found naturally in many plant species where it acts as a natural pesticide as it paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding upon the plant. High levels of caffeine have been found in the soil of surrounding coffee bean seedlings. It is understood that caffeine has a natural function as a pesticide and as a seed germination inhibitor of other nearby coffee seedlings giving it a better chance of survival.

The most commonly used sources of caffeine today are tea, and to a lesser extent cocoa bean.  In global commerce, caffeine is surpassed only by petroleum in global trade.  It is available in almost every soft-drink and used as the number 1 additive to beverages, which people consume approximately 56 gallons of yearly. The average American consumes approximately 218mg of caffeine per day, 75% of those milligrams of which are from coffee.

These figures establish in the least the probability that the average American currently does or will suffer from disrupted sleep, since the daily caffeine consumption levels are in excess of the level at which caffeine begins to affect normal sleep patterns:  as little as 200mg of caffeine can disrupt the normal sleeping patterns of the average adult. In comparison, an acute overdose of caffeine can occur usually in excess of about 300 milligrams, dependent on body weight and level of caffeine tolerance and can result in a state of central nervous system over-stimulation called caffeine intoxication.

However, the more obvious direct link between caffeine consumption and sleep disorders, is that it has been clinically established and upon proper diagnosis labeled “caffeine induced sleep disorder,” the criteria of which a proper diagnosis would include the following:

  1. The level of sleep disturbance with which a patient presents himself would warrant clinical intervention or attention;
  2. Laboratory findings and physical examination indicate sleep disorder to be a direct result of caffeine consumption;
  3. The sleep disturbance cannot be attributable to another mental disorder;
  4. Narcolepsy and breathing related disorders have been ruled out;
  5. The sleep disturbance is not exclusively during periods of delirium;
  6. The sleep disturbance has caused and continues to cause significant social, occupational and other functional impairments.

REFERENCES

R. Gregory Lande, D. (n.d.). Caffeine Related Psychiatric Disorders. Retrieved January 10, 2010, from MEDSCAPE:  http://emedicine.medscape.com/ article/290113-overview

First Published at Helium.com

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Sleep Disorders and Dysomnia

Dyssomnia is one of the two major categories of primary sleep disorders or sleep disorders that are not caused by other mental disorders, medications, drug dependencies, or other medical conditions and are a broad classification for sleep disorders that make it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep. There are over thirty sleep disorders recognized as dyssomnias and they are categorized into three major groups: intrinsic, extrinsic and circadian rhythm.

The twelve intrinsic sleep disorders are those that originate from within the body internally being the first category of the three groups, and cover such sleep disorders as:

restless legs syndrome or the irresistible urge to move legs to relieve sensations which may be caused by iron deficiency; periodic limb movement disorder; central and obstructive sleep apnea syndromes which symptoms may include: waking up with a very sore and/or dry throat, occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation, sleepiness during the day, morning headaches, forgetfulness, mood changes and a decreased interest in sex which may be caused by obesity, an obstruction in the airway in the case of obstructive sleep apnea or an imbalance in the brain’s respiratory control center in the case of central sleep apnea, and several other factors; post traumatic, idiopathic and recurrent hypersomnias which can be caused by brain damage, clinical depression, uremia, fibromyalgia or as the result of a side effect of taking certain medication. narcolepsy which appears to be caused by a genetic predisposition; sleep state misperception; and central alveolar hypo-ventilation syndrome, among others.

The second category of dyssomnias falls into the extrinsic sleep disorders, or those that are caused through external environmental or behavioral causes, and cover such sleep disorders as:

inadequate sleep hygiene; environmental sleep disorder; insomnia which can be caused by hormonal shifts, other mental disorders, and numerous other factors, along with ten other recognized extrinsic sleep disorders.

The third category of dyssomnias falls into circadian rhythm disorders involving our natural biological clocks that are cyclical and based on 24-hours. Those disorders are:

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS); Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome; and jet-lag, as well as 3 other recognized circadian rhythm sleep disorders

for which symptoms of these sleep disorders may include but are not limited to: difficulty initiating sleep and maintaining sleep, daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, headaches and gastrointestinal distress and can be caused by numerous factors.

Depending upon the category of the sleep disorder, the true causes of many that are created internally are still under investigation and remain a mystery. But, even though causal effects are under investigation, therapies are available for many, and as a generalization of most sleep disorders, most require some type of lifestyle modification.

First Published at Helium.com

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On Gender Identity

BBC News report Health Check: The Boy who was raised a girl is a mother’s account of the birth of her two identical twin boys and what began as a circumcision gone wrong followed by years of gender identity deceit and the ultimate fulfillment of a prophecy.  The accounting is of Janet & Ron Reimer of Canada, parents of identical twins Bruce and Brian, who were informed upon taking their twins for circumcision that one of the two had been involved in a horrible accident.  While performing the circumcision, the doctors had chosen to use a method not conventionally used in the procedure that burned Bruce’s penis beyond repair.  Brian did not suffer at that time.

In horror, the parents consulted with numerous doctors and agreed upon an experiment by American Dr. John Money at Johns Hopkins who at the then time, felt that Bruce should be raised as a girl rather than as a man with no penis.  So, the Reimers, convinced by Dr. Money’s nurture over nature theory, embarked on a fatal journey and Bruce at 21 months of age was castrated and became Brenda, or did he?  CBC News reports in David Reimer: The boy who lived as a girl that although Bruce”s testicles were removed, what was left of his penis wasn’t so as not to interfere with the urinary tract.

According to CBC, Janet Reimer when reminiscing about Brenda claimed:

“She was very rebellious. She was very masculine, and I could not persuade her to do anything feminine. Brenda had almost no friends growing up. Everybody ridiculed her, called her cavewoman.”

The BBC report further goes on to state that by the time Brenda was thirteen she was feeling suicidal.  Apparently, as discovered through the CBC report:

“It became increasingly clear the experiment was not working. He started developing thick shoulders and a thick neck.At the same time, the Reimers were under pressure from Money to take the final step: allow surgeons to create a vagina.  But [Brenda] rebelled. He protested that he didn’t need surgery and threatened to commit suicide if he was forced to make another trip to Baltimore to see Money.  That’s when his father broke down and told him everything.”

CBC further reports that he attempted suicide three times.  After he recovered from the coma that was the result of the third suicide attempt, Brenda became David, cut his hair and started wearing men’s clothing again.  CBC further reported that a settlement had been reached for the unconventional circumcision for $60,000 speculated to be around $100,000 when the twin turned 18.

David Reimer underwent four rounds of reconstructive surgery to physically make him a man again. The surgery enabled him to enjoy a normal sex life, but he was unable to father children.

Initially, David Reimer only told his story from the shadows – he refused to talk about it if his identity were revealed. That changed in 2000, when American author John Colapinto wrote As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl.

Recently, David Reimer’s life had taken another turn. He lost his job and was separated from his wife. His mother said he was still grieving the death two years ago of his twin brother,

David (Bruce aka Brenda) Reimer committed suicide on May 4, 2004. He was 38.

Brian Reimer died of a drug overdose in 2002.

Curiously enough, according to the IMDb on Janet Reimer, in 2000, Horizon filmed a TV series documentary: The Boy Who Was Turned Into a Girl where parents Janet and Ron Reimer starred as themselves, and again in 2004: Dr. Money and the Boy with No Penis where Janet starred as herself and clips from backup footage were used for David.

In response to David and Brian’s deaths, father Ron tells CBC News:

“I’m not going to cry a river of tears over that, because I’ve got three great kids. I’ve got a wonderful wife. I’ve got a good home,”

in the wake of the release of the book  The sad thing is that although the reports romanticize Janet Reimer’s plight and dramatizes  David’s, any need for community outreach may be accomplished, but if thought about for any length of time, one can’t help but understand a horror of such darkness so as to drive both twins, the first of a drug overdose at 36, and the second of suicide at 38, to end each of their respective lives while the mother was at the height of her fifteen minutes of fame.

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